(Click here for Parts I, II, and III)
Thankfully, I haven't had any personal experience with Singapore's emergency rooms, however that leaves me shorthanded on giving you any sort of assessment of the ER service here. So, instead of breaking a bone or contracting a sudden illness, I did the next best thing-- I stole the following entry my friend regarding her recent visit to the ER. If you're interested in another take on Singapore, I'd recommend you to Gina's blog. She's always full of entertaining anecdotes.
The Cost of Peace of Mind
When your daughter has had a fever for three days and suddenly starts complaining that her neck hurts a lot, the wise doctors on the web say "Go to the hospital immediately!" So I did.
I suspected it might just have been stiffness from lack of activity, or too much movie watching (she's been a pretty tired little girl) but it was 7 p.m. and I didn't want to wait until midnight, realize I really should have taken her in, and then spent a miserable night in the ER, or worse yet, have a really sick little girl.
Thankfully Lisa the maid could stay with Ethan, so Megan grabbed her pink bear for comfort and we went. The ER at the KK Children's Hospital here is a slick operation. S$80 will cover everything you do during your visit. We got in to see the doctor quickly, and she ordered a blood test to rule out meningitis. We had to wait what they said would be 40-60 minutes but which turned into more like 90 for the results. You know what's cute for about 5 seconds? Those squeaky shoes people put on their toddlers. You know what's not cute after 90 minutes? Yeah.
I did get a chance to be entertained by watching I Survived a Japanese Game Show for the first and hopefully only time. Don't get me wrong - I laughed, but watching that level of shame and pettiness is something I can skip. Where do they get the people for reality shows? One of the great mysteries of life.
Before the blood test, the doctor said she didn't suspect it was meningitis, but wanted to be sure. I called Ethan because I knew he would be worried. Somewhere in his life he developed a deep fear of illness - is it post traumatic syndrome from living through SARS? I don't know. He told me he'd been very worried, and Lisa told him to read his Bible. Man, I love this woman. He said, "So I went to Lego Bible and then played a few games and felt better."
One of these days I need to convince my son that Lego Bible is not the same as the other Bible.
After all was said and done, the doctor said she just has a viral fever and it can run its course. I have to say, a Singaporean accent is sometimes hard for me to understand. But a Singaporean accent in a hospital full of screaming babies, when spoken through a surgical mask, might as well be another language. But she got the job done and we were back home by 9:30 p.m.
Going to an emergency room at 7 p.m. in Singapore: S$80. Finding out that your daughter just has yet another tropical mystery illness and NOT meningitis: Priceless.